7 Tips for Selling Your Property in Spain
Selling a property in Spain is part-art, part-science. No doubt there is an element of luck, but there are always things you can do to help your odds.
Below we have put together a checklist of 7 simple tips to help boost the sales price of your property in Spain.
1. Tidy up and declutter (obvious but true)
Sure, a good cleanup might sound like an obvious tip, but you would be amazed how many properties are left in a complete mess.
Your estate agent in Spain would love to tell you the truth - pack away or get rid of everything but the basics. But they don’t want to offend you and risk losing your business, so most bite their tongue and say nothing. Most of the time you will get a subtle hint at best.
A cluttered property full of your personal possessions makes it very hard for anyone to ‘connect’ with the property (other than you). It sends a clear message that the property belongs to someone else.
A tidy, decluttered home looks larger, more spacious and makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there.
Don’t assume people like what you like. Everyone has different tastes.
The bottom line is it's best to give potential buyers a blank canvas to look at.
2. Offer your furniture as a deal sweetener
The property market in Spain attracts an international audience, particularly along coastal areas.
That means there’s a good chance you could be selling to an overseas buyer who might find a property that comes with furniture a real bonus.
If you’re downsizing or returning to the UK, there’s a good chance you may not need all of your furniture anyway and it’s often the case that you find out later that your old furniture doesn’t actually suit your new property.
For British expats, the cost of shipping furniture back to the UK also brings extra cost and hassle. And if you’ve ever sold furniture before on eBay or Gumtree, you’ll know that second-hand furniture doesn’t normally fetch much money. You might find the cost of international shipping is more than it’s even worth!
So consider dangling some free furniture as a deal sweetener. It might be a useful negotiating lever rather than resorting to a price drop.
3. Do the obvious repair jobs (this matters a lot)
OK, this might sound like a hassle, but any obvious repairs that need doing should be done by the seller, not the buyer.
Think about it from the buyer’s point of view.
Firstly, they don’t want a bunch of work to do after they move in. They certainly don’t want to be thinking about needing to find a local plumber, electrician or builder when they are already feeling a lot poorer having forked out a lot of money to buy your property.
Secondly, if they spot that you haven’t bothered to fix the obvious things, it will also give the impression there are a lot of other things that need doing too.
In most situations the seller will have better local knowledge of Spain than the buyer as they have lived in or visited the area for many years. So it makes sense for the seller to get things fixed rather than a buyer who will overestimate the cost of repairs or even pull out of the deal altogether.
By keeping your property in good working order, you won’t give a buyer an easy excuse to change their mind or renegotiate a large discount to the listed price.
4. Get the paperwork ready (there's a hidden benefit)
Property can take a while to shift in Spain.
One way you can speed up the process is to have the paperwork ready.
Yes, paperwork is dull and boring, but it’s necessary if you want to sell your property in Spain.
The buyer or more likely their legal representatives are going to ask for all the relevant documents.
Many of the questions and documents needed will the same ones you asked for when you bought the property and so can be easily anticipated.
If you bought your Spanish property a long time ago or like me, you have no idea where you've put the paperwork, then ask your agent for a checklist.
Your estate agent in Spain can help guide you on what information you’ll need to gather.
Having the docs ready to go has a hidden benefit.
Quick replies keep the momentum up in the sales process. Time is often a silent killer when it comes to property sales.
Don’t forget, buyers will always have lingering seeds of doubt about whether your property is ‘the one’.
They will still be looking at the new listings as they come onto the market. And other agents in Spain will still be calling them with alternative properties to view.
A long, drawn-out sales process gives your buyer greater opportunity to look elsewhere and potentially lose interest.
In real estate, a quick sale is a good sale. Don't let the spark go out through disorganisation.
5. Negotiate the agent's fee
In Spain, estate agent fees vary considerably. The fee tends to be anywhere between 3%-6% of the property value – so it’s worth shopping around.
These percentages are a lot higher than the UK, but the Spanish market is not as fast-moving as the UK market, so agents tend to charge a higher percentage in order to offset the lower transaction volumes.
Higher rates are more likely for lower-priced properties because there is often just as much work involved with a low or high-value property, so the agent will need to get paid an adequate fee for their time and marketing.
We’ve heard of situations where the agent says they will not charge you (the seller) anything at all, because they charge the buyer instead. This might sound like a great deal for you, but it is likely to put a lot of buyers off – so might come back to bite you later.
Note you will also be able to get a lower rate if you agree to sign exclusively with one agent. Multi-agent rates in Spain tend to be higher as the agents normally agree to split the fee.
And just so there are no surprises at the end, there is also IVA of 21% (like VAT in the UK) added to the agents’ bill.
6. Think about the exchange rate
Most people that are selling property in Spain completely forget to think about the exchange rate.
That can be a costly mistake.
The Euro to Pound exchange rate can have a significant impact on the amount you receive in your UK bank account.
Exchange rates change every few seconds. Even small moves in the rate can make a big difference to large amounts of money.
If you use your bank to transfer your money from Spain to the UK, you could be up to 5% worse-off compared to using a currency broker.
A (good) currency broker offers much more competitive exchange rates than a bank and can keep an eye on the daily fluctuations in exchange rates, letting you know when the rate moves in your favour.
7. Watch out for (nasty) banker’s draft fees
When you sell your property in Spain, the normal process is that the Notary will hand you a banker’s draft with the proceeds from the sale.
At that point, you still need to get that the proceeds into a bank account.
But Spanish banks expolit this situation and charge you to deposit a banker’s draft into your own account.
We carried out a market comparison and found that the typical fee charged by the big Spanish banks ranged from 0.5% to 1.0%.
Using our example of a €100,000 Spanish property sale, the banker’s draft fee would come to €500 to €1,000. That's a large fee in anyone's books.
At Key Currency, we can help you avoid this fee altogether due to our local banking relationships in Spain.
You can read more about it in our article on How to Transfer Money from Spain to the UK.
Here’s a quick recap of the 7 tips for selling a property in Spain:
- Tidy-up & de-clutter
- Offer free furniture
- Do any obvious repairs
- Prepare the paperwork early
- Negotiate the agent's fee
- Speak to a currency broker
- Avoid banker’s draft fees
Key Currency is an independent currency specialist with offices in Spain and the UK.
If you are looking to transfer a large amount of euros into pounds, you could be up to 5% worse off using a bank.
We have considerable expertise in Spanish property transactions, where exchange rate costs and bank fees can make a big financial difference to customers.
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